In December, a young writer, Nick Hunt, will set off from London with the aim of walking from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor, seventy-eight years after Paddy commenced his own, life-changing journey.
Nick intends to report on his journey and to write a book. He is not seeking to copy Paddy as he explains below, but to create his own experience whilst comparing the Europe that he encounters with the one our eighteen year old hero stepped into with such joyful anticipation.
Such things cannot be achieved without money and I am asking if you will make some contribution to ensure that Nick does not starve on his long journey. Who knows he may even need some cash to replace a lost rucksack at some point!
We have the idea of emulating Paddy’s “One Pound a week” concept. If you would like to help Nick on his journey (for which you will receive personal reports and in good time – hopefully not forty-three years like Paddy! – a copy of the book) please visit the page he has set-up with an on-line site that helps to raise money for interesting arts projects – We Did This – and make a donation. Nick needs to meet his target of £1,500 within one month. One Pound per week for a six month journey works out at £26 but I am sure any help you can offer will be very gratefully received!
To find out more and donate visit We Did This
Please fund me with £1 a week to walk Paddy’s route across Europe!
On December 9th 2011 – 78 years after Paddy’s great journey from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul – I will set out in his footsteps. Using his writing as a roadmap, his words as a background murmur in my ear, I’ll walk the same route through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. I’m a freelance journalist and writer, and the journey will be documented through audio recordings and through writing – to produce a series of short radio programmes, and a book of travel journalism, on my return to England.
My intention isn’t to emulate Paddy – who could ever attempt that? – but to explore the ways in which Europe, and the experience of walking it, have changed since he set out. In the intervening years war, politics and progress have reshaped the continent several times over. Obviously towns and cities will have grown, villages will have been swallowed by roads, and certain landscapes will have been altered beyond recognition. But as well as these more tangible changes, I want to explore the deeper shifts in the cultures, traditions and identities of the countries Paddy passed through.
My journey will come at an interesting time, with Europe still undergoing great changes, new patterns of migration and fusions of different cultures, as well as facing great challenges – from the uncertainties thrown up by the economic crisis to the ominous resurgence of right-wing movements across the continent.
‘Everything is going to vanish! They talk of building power-dams across the Danube and I tremble whenever I think of it! They’ll make the wildest river in Europe as tame as a municipal waterworks. All those fish from the East — they would never come back. Never, never, never!’
This prediction was made by a man Paddy met in Persenbeug, Austria, in an inn overlooking the Danube (A Time of Gifts). Much of the reason for me making this journey, almost 80 years later, is to see if these words became true.
Has Europe been tamed? Has everything vanished?
Is adventure still possible in Europe?
As admirers of A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water will know, Paddy managed to fund his journey on £1 a week (which works out as about £50 today). I’m asking people to support this project by funding me just £1 a week for the duration of the walk, which should take around 6 months.
If you would like to fund me, or just to get in touch with thoughts, ideas, suggestions, you can contact me at scrutiny[at]gmail.com
For a fuller description of the journey, please see my blog: www.afterthewoodsandthewater.wordpress.com